Thirty-three star learners, employers and learning providers involved in the delivery of a range of successful skills programmes across Wales have been shortlisted for this year’s Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.
Entries for the prestigious awards, jointly organised by the Welsh Government and the National Training Federation for Wales (NTfW), poured in from across the nation. A panel of judges had the difficult task of selecting the finalists who must now await the final ceremony at Venue Cymru, Llandudno on October 20 to discover if they have won an award.
The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and learning providers who have excelled in contributing to the development of the Welsh Government’s Traineeships, Jobs Growth Wales and Apprenticeship programmes.
The judging panel looked for those who have exceeded expectations, shown a dynamic approach to training and demonstrated initiative, enterprise, innovation, creativity and commitment to improve skills development in Wales.
Funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund, the awards are sponsored by Pearson PLC and supported by media partner, Media Wales.
Wales’ Minister for Skills and Science Julie James congratulated the finalists and thanked all the learners, employers and learning providers who had entered this year’s awards.
“I am told that the quality of entries was higher than ever this year, which demonstrates the continued success of the Welsh Government’s learning programmes,” she said. “We are proud to be delivering one of the most successful apprenticeship programmes in Europe with success rates in Wales remaining well above 80 per cent.
“Developing skilled people is vital for our economy. We have some truly exceptional apprentices here in Wales and the Apprenticeship Awards Cymru provide a perfect platform for us to celebrate their hard work and achievements. Equally important are the learning providers and employers who go the extra mile to support their apprentices.”
This year there are 12 awards including two in a new category for work-based learning practitioners: work-based learning assessor of the year and work-based learning tutor of the year.
This category aims to recognise the commitment, energy and enthusiasm of work-based learning practitioners and the key role they play in helping learners to develop workplace skills, to succeed in their careers and to overcome barriers to progression in their learning and work.
In the Employability category, there are awards for learner of the year (engagement) and learner of the year (level one), while the Jobs Growth Wales programme has an award for outstanding achiever of the year.
Apprenticeships are spotlighted with individual awards for foundation apprentice, apprentice and higher apprentice of the year.
Businesses of all sizes across Wales will get their chance to bask in the national spotlight with awards for small employer (1- 49 employees), medium employer (50 – 249), large employer (250 – 4,999) and macro employer of the year (5,000 plus). These awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships and other work-based learning programmes, which support employees during their training.
The shortlisted finalists are: Traineeship Learner of the Year (engagement): Cameron Thomas, St Mellons, Cardiff trained by Itec Skills and Employment; Cassidy Rhian Jones, Bethesda trained by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai and Leon Proudlock, Henllan, Denbigh trained by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai. Traineeship Learner of the Year (level one): Angharad Jones, Valley, Holyhead trained by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai; Darren Watts, Butetown, Cardiff trained by ACT Limited and Rhys Pugh, Pontyberem, Llanelli trained by Coleg Sir Gâr. Jobs Growth Wales: Callum Jones, Pontypool trained by Itec Skills and Employment; Marc Pugh, Llanfaredd trained by Cambrian Training Company and Oliver Chatfield, Varteg, Pontypool trained by Itec Skills and Employment.
Foundation Apprentice of the Year: Gwilym Bowen Rhys, Bethel, Caernarfon; Niall Perks, Heath, Cardiff and Rhys Donovan, Merthyr Tydfil. Apprentice of the Year: Leanne Williams, Wrexham; Maria Brooks, Porthcawl and Michael Leach, Rhydfellin, Pontypridd. Higher Apprentice of the Year: Adam Harvey, Barry; Jamie Stenhoff, Flint and Matthew Edwards, Wrexham.
Work-based Learning Assessor and Tutor of the Year: Lisa Marie Winter from Acorn Learning Solutions, Newport who lives in Llanharan; Mark McDonough from Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Rhos-on-Sea; Michael Ramsden from Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool who lives in Cardiff and Chris Hughes from ACT Limited, Cardiff who lives in Hengoed, Caerphilly.
Small Employer of the Year: Crimewatch Alarms Ltd & C W Electrical, Newport; Ken Picton Salon, Cardiff and USW Child Care Services Department, Treforest, Pontypridd. Medium Employer of the Year: Arthur J. Gallagher, Llantrisant; Little Inspirations, Pontyclun and Values in Care Ltd, Hengoed, Caerphilly. Large and Macro Employer of the Year: Argos, BT, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Treharris, Caerphilly; OP Chocolates, Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil and RWE Innogy UK, Llanidloes.